For more than 60 years, the partnership between the United States and Japan has been the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Our alliance advances our shared interests, shared values and shared goals in the region, throughout the world--and now in the heavens.

Space is the ultimate unifier. From the moon to Mars, no nation has been a more prominent partner to the U.S. endeavors than Japan. Together, in one year, our nations have established decades worth of collaboration and cooperation in the cosmos.

How did we do it?

First, during President Joe Biden’s visit to Japan in May 2022, he and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged that Japan would extend its support for the International Space Station to 2030. NASA and JAXA astronauts will continue inspiring innovation and transforming technologies for years to come on this orbiting laboratory.

Second, in November, the United States and Japan signed the Gateway Implementing Arrangement. This was anything but a small step. It leads to a giant leap forward: a Japanese astronaut joining NASA to the moon--as the president stated.

Third, when Prime Minister Kishida visited the United States, the U.S.-Japan Framework Agreement was signed at NASA after years of stop and start negotiations. From space technology to transportation, operations to exploration, our nations will go farther together in the final frontier.

These three actions have the power and prowess to shape the next three decades in space. But for the U.S. and Japan, these are only our latest agreements, not our last.

We have set our sights on human missions to Mars with Japan as our lead partner. Think about that for a moment. Currently, NASA and JAXA are finalizing an agreement to collaborate on the JAXA-led Martian Moons Explorer mission.

We will fly to the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, to bring samples back to Earth. Its implications will be as far-reaching and awe-inspiring as can be imagined. We should complete this agreement this spring.

When I arrived in Japan as ambassador a year ago, I realized that the U.S. and Japan are beacons for democracy, diplomacy and discovery. The story of our space programs is the story of barriers broken and technologies transformed.

On the eve of NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy’s visit to Japan, let’s reaffirm our alliance and recommit to achieve more--on Earth and in space.

Our shared ambitions are no less lofty than when President Kennedy dared a generation of dreamers to journey to the moon. In the 21st century, impossible missions will be accomplished by the most remarkable partners: NASA and JAXA.

From Tokyo to Tampa, a new generation in America and Japan is ready to push the limits of humanity’s exploration and knowledge.

Rahm Emanuel is U.S. Ambassador to Japan.